The 2008 Planning Act requires planning authorities who wish to introduce CIL to have their proposed CIL Charging Schedule scrutinised by an independent Examiner appointed by the authority. According to s212, the authority must simply "appoint someone who, in the opinion of the authority -
a) is independent of the charging authority, and
b) has appropriate qualifications and experience."
So, unlike Development Plan Documents, CIL Charging Schedules do not need to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate and therefore TRA has added an Independent Examination service to our existing portfolio of services to local authorities.
TRA can provide a professional, prompt and competitively-priced Examination service and we would encourage authorities to take a look at what we can offer so that they can make a fully-informed decision when appointing an Examiner.
The Examination will assess whether:
- the authority has complied with the requirements set out in Part 11 of the Planning Act 2008 and the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations
- the Draft Charging Schedule is supported by background documents containing appropriate available evidence
- the proposed rate(s) are informed by and consistent with the evidence on economic viability across the authority's area
- evidence has been provided that shows that the proposed rate(s) would not put overall development in the area at serious risk.
The service includes:
- An initial paper-based examination of the evidence. The Examiner will identify the main issues which need to be addressed and, where necessary, will put appropriate questions to the authority and/or representors.
- A pre-hearing meeting (if required). This would consider the work undertaken in the preparation of the Charging Schedule and identify any issues that appear potentially problematic. Such a meeting cannot test material, confirm the adequacy of the documents available, nor endorse any part of them. However, it provides an opportunity to discuss how the examination itself would be managed and to outline a draft programme and the main issues to be considered at the examination. (Please note that a PHM has not been necessary in most cases).
- Examination of the evidence. This will normally be through a round-table discussion/Hearing. However, if no one exercises their right to be heard by the Examiner, the examination will be conducted by written representations.
- A written report. We would normally expect to complete our report within 4 weeks from the conclusion of the examination. Before submission of the report, there would be an opportunity for the LPA to point out any factual errors for correction.